Is your web site compliant?

February 15th, 2013

With more and more retailers disappearing from our High Street and the corresponding growth in shopping on the internet, the Office of Fair Trading did a sweep of 156 of top retailer websites prior to the run up to Christmas. Their report revealed 62 may not be fully complying with consumer protection law

It’s clear on line trading provides great benefits both to traders and to consumers and this method of retailing is here to stay. Top retailers such as John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have been able to transfer successfully their brand values and  a reputation built on trust onto their internet  trading, and that  in turn has driven  growth in their business often at the expense of the competition.

There is still a massive opportunity for companies in this area whether you sell to the public or other businesses. The auctions for 4th generation mobile phone licences are finally underway with OFCOM and new networks planned to be rolled out in the later part of 2013 will provide internet speeds five times faster – Everything Everywhere has already started. With new phones and tablet devices already available this new network will only facilitate further rapid expansion of e commerce.

OFT are aware of this and have produced a video to help educate the consumer on ‘You Tube’ called ‘Internet Shopping’.

So for many businesses the challenges continue to be how to market, sell and promote their products and services effectively online whilst complying with the huge raft of statutory law, e-commerce regulations, data protection rules.  The latest headache for all web site owners is the relatively new regulations on Cookies Policy where unfortunately just adopting someone else’s standard template may not do the trick.  All this in an environment where web sites are likely to become more and more subject to scrutiny both by the public and government!

The OFT are not going to ignore non–compliance and made this statement in a press release on 12th October 2012

‘Traders that do not make amendments to comply with the law risk formal enforcement action from the OFT or Local Trading Standards Services.’

If you want your business to be seen as a trusted on line brand for consumers or as a reputable online supplier to business, it’s hard to see how non- compliance with these regulations supports that vision. Putting your house in order now, rather than waiting until there is a problem or complaint which  can be costly and more importantly may damage your businesses reputation,  must be the much better option.

Kate Bradbury